Return of the Sheiks: What next for Somalia and the United Arab Emirates?

By Loza Seleshie
Posted on Friday, 24 June 2022 02:47

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks during a Reuters interview in Mogadishu
Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks during a Reuters interview inside his office at the Presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia 28 May 2022. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Somalia's President Hassan Sheik Mohamud return to office after five years out of power has shaken up Somali politics and geopolitics of the Horn. But, Hassan is not the only one making a return to Mogadishu. After withdrawing aid and military cooperation in 2018, the United Arab Emirates’s (UAE) Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) – backed by Saudi Arabia – has slowly been mending ties with Mogadishu. What will this mean for Somalia? And what are the implications for the Horn?

The last time Hassan Sheik Mohamud was president (2012-2017), the wider Horn and global dynamics were quite different. Covid was unheard of, the repercussions of the Arab Spring were still being felt and the world was just beginning to deal with then US president Donald Trump. Now, leaders have to deal with Russia’s war in Ukraine, a civil war in Ethiopia and growing concerns about global economic growth.

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